The 2012–2013 discovery of a Higgs boson appears to have filled the final missing gap in the Standard Model of particle physics and was greeted with fanfare by the scientific community and by the public at large. Particle physicists have developed and rigorously tested a specialized statistical tool kit that is designed for the search for new physics. This tool kit was put to the test in a 40-year search that culminated in the discovery of a Higgs boson. This article reviews these statistical methods, the controversies that surround them, and how they led to this historic discovery.


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